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A Hellenistic surprise acquisition


ambr0zie
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I was participating in an auction today, to satisfy the urge for new coins. I am not (at all) an expert on the Hellenistic period, mainly because the price for artistic examples are discouraging. Sometimes I stare at various tetradrachms, especially the ones with a different example than the classic Alexander as Herakles / Zeus seated left, but ... I remain at staring.

This was my only silver coin from the Hellenistic era, a budget drachm I bough for Christmas in 2019.

image.png.7016cccc80219f64c10b6707c22c0f61.png

Alexander III, AR Drachm, 323-319 BC. Philip III Arrhidaios Struck under Menander or Kleitos. Magnesia ad Maeandrum mint. Head of Herakles right, wearing lionskin headdress. / AΛEXANΔΡOY to right of Zeus seated left, right leg drawn back, holding eagle and sceptre. bee left in left field, spear-head in outer right field. Price 1937-1938; Mueller 322-323; SNG Cop. 952.

So I was looking at the auction waiting for the coins I was interested in (of course, lost) and I noticed this coin having no bids. As usually the prices started at 10 EUR I got a little panicked and the inner voice inside my head shouted NO NO, you can't let it go. Pressed bid and won it.

image.png.a10e95e6a04a61c05bc4481364ac587f.png

KINGS of THRACE.Lysimachos.(305-281 BC). Ephesos. Drachm. 18 mm, 4.2 g
Obv : Diademed head of the deified Alexander right, wearing horn of Ammon. / Rev : BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY. / Rev: Athena seated left, holding Nike and resting elbow on shield. Control: Lyre in left field, monogram A below throne.
Thompson 174; Müller 355.

... only to see that the starting price was 100 EUR not 10. Initially I was annoyed as this is not the price I want to pay for an unexpected "snack" and also noticed the corrosion/crystallization, but when I looked better, I started to like the coin more and more. Great details, I like the reverse, with Athena's facial details quire clear... so apparently not a major disaster (especially since I confirmed with a colleague, much more skilled in this area, who will remain anonymous but I can tell he is an expert in Macedonian shield coins, that the drachms are not very common).

Lysimachus or Lysimachos was a Thessalian officer and successor of Alexander the Great, who in 306 BC, became King of Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedon. Thessalian family, but citizens of Pella. Apparently his family was close to Alexander's family, his father being a close friend of Philip II.

The historian Justin relates the story that Lysimachus smuggled poison to a person Alexander had condemned to a slow death and was himself thrown to a lion as punishment, but overcame the beast with his bare hands and became one of Alexander's favorites. Pausanias writes that Lysimachus was one of Alexander's body-guards, whom Alexander once in anger shut up in a chamber with a lion but he killed the lion and after that Alexander treated him with respect, and honored him as much as the noblest Macedonians.

After Alexander's death in 323 BC, he was appointed to the government of Thrace as strategos although he faced some difficulties from the Thracian king Seuthes.

His long reign was not exactly a piece of cake. I will mention just an event that I am directly interested in. He tried to carry his power beyond the Danube, but was defeated and taken prisoner by the Getae king Dromichaetes (or Dromihete), who, however, set him free in 292 BC on amicable terms in return for Lysimachus surrendering the Danubian lands he had captured.

His life ended in the way he lived it.

Domestic troubles embittered the last years of Lysimachus’ life. Amastris, one of his wives, had been murdered by her two sons; Lysimachus treacherously put them to death. On his return, Arsinoe II asked the gift of Heraclea, and he granted her request, though he had promised to free the city. In 284 BC Arsinoe, desirous of gaining the succession for her sons in preference to Lysimachus’ first child, Agathocles, intrigued against him with the help of Arsinoe's paternal half-brother Ptolemy Keraunos; they accused him of conspiring with Seleucus to seize the throne, and Agathocles was put to death.

This atrocious deed by Lysimachus aroused great indignation. Many of the cities of Asia Minor revolted, and his most trusted friends deserted him. The widow of Agathocles and their children fled to Seleucus, who at once invaded the territory of Lysimachus in Asia Minor. In 281 BC, Lysimachus crossed the Hellespont into Lydia and at the decisive Battle of Corupedium was killed. After some days his body was found on the field, protected from birds of prey by his faithful dog. Lysimachus' body was given over to another son, Alexander, by whom it was interred at Lysimachia.

 

Let's see some Hellenistic coins .... and/or coins won by mistake!

 

Edited by ambr0zie
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Posted · Supporter

I've been chasing a Drachm to go along with my tet and can't believe nobody bid you up!? If you ever get tired of her I'll happily take her off your hands😘

Lysimachos is such an enigma, the guy is just a bit to the north and can't find an excuse to give us MSCs. However, on the other hand, he has given us some of if not, the best portraiture of what Alexander really looked like (idealized or not).

Here are some of my Lysimachos coins:

IMG_0356.PNG.bbe9bf1a71b070f52c662e3b7898578e.PNG

Lysimachos                        Pella,305-281 BC.
Tetradrachm AR 27mm., 15,95g. Head of the deified Alexander the Great to right, wearing diadem with fluttering ends and with the horn of Ammon around his ear / ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΛΥΣΙΜΑΧΟΥ, Athena, wearing robes and helmet, seated to left on throne, holding Nike on her right hand and resting her left elbow on large round shield adorned with a gorgoneion; to left monogram. very fine. Thompson 253; Müller 471. 

IMG_0281.PNG.20a137cf4393daf587633a4d5dda1cf4.PNG

Lysimachos

 Kings of Thrace. Uncertain mint. 305-281 BC. AE (19mm, 3.75g). Helmeted head of Athena right / Lion leaping right, spearhead below. Müller 61; HGC 3, 1758.

Former: Kairos

IMG_0429.PNG.ef0afce468ae7d68c6c6033baac0c71a.PNG

Lysimachos

305-281 BCE Ae.
Obv: Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin.
Rev: BAΣI ΛYΣI.
Legend in two lines within wreath of grain ears.
SNG Copenhagen 1168.
Condition: Extremely fine.
Weight: 2.00 g.
Diameter: 12.6 mm.

 

 

Edited by Ryro
IDs and fix typos
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You got a nice drachm !

 

Here is a hellenistic Tet of Alexander Balas

 

Alexander_Balas_1.jpg.9731f21c41d9bec81137d2cd86215ce6.jpg

Seleucid Kings of Syria
Alexander I Balas
Tetradrachm, dated ςΞ = 147-146 BC
Obv.: Diademed head of Alexander
Rev.: Zeus enthroned left, holding sceptre, Nike crowning him
ΒAΣIΛΕΩS / ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ- ΘEOΠATOΡOΣ / EΥEΡΓETOΥ
ςΞΡ and Φ in ex
Ag, 16,6 mm 30 mm
Ref.: SC 1784 7, SMA 157f.
Ex Collection Prof. Dr. Dobretsberger 1948 (Secretary of Social Affairs in Austria)
Ex Collection Karl Pollak

Edited by shanxi
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Very nice! His coins typically go at a premium, so I don't think you overpaid.

Here's my coins of Lysimachos and "the fam".

Lysimachos

lysimachos.jpg.cc272d232bac296d280474f3e213c4b1.jpg

Agathokles, son of Lysimachos and his first wife, Nicaea. Later executed by Lysimachos.

Agathokles.jpg.b7f29a57cc19446df11b7da05730e623.jpg

Eurydike, daughter of Lysimachos and Nicaea. Later executed by Lysimachos too.

Eurydikeia.jpg.13105ec22247c62a1628a0c5c206a1d1.jpg

Second wife, Amastris. First woman to mint coins in her own name. Drowned by her two sons, who were summarily executed by Lysimachos.

amastris.jpg.50328aa8786deefeea9b96d7efedcb6e.jpg

Arsinoe II, third wife of Lysimachos

arsinoe.jpg.bc1bbfe641d3cce0342f00906364509d.jpg

Ptolemy Epigonos, son of Lysimachos and Arsinoe II. This coin was issued by either him or his son, also called Lysimachos.

1742941650_PtolemyEpigonos.jpg.0974c3f03b5da31737fb762b3ca2fcde.jpg

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Posted (edited)

The OP coin is a nice example and with the Euro at near parity with the US dollar, the price is reasonable, but the buyer's fee, assuming there is one, will up the final price somewhat.

The Hellenistic influence in the style of coinage throughout much of the Mediterranean and beyond was far reaching.

Bactria Athenian Series imitation Owl, 261-239 BC.  From Roma XX, lot 334.

16.64 grams

1697278180_D-CameraBactriaAthenanSeriesimitationOwl261-239BC16.64gRomaXX3345-21-21.jpg.67fc7af1acf7065d84ecfd8a4b839379.jpg

 

Ptolemy IV Philopator, AE Drachm, Alexandria mint, 222-205 BC,

66.15  grams

2629269_D-CameraPTOLEMYIVPhilopatorAEDrachmAlexandriamint.222-205BC66.15g10-24-20.jpg.84f2b61250d8b00b76a787d61e503b2c.jpg

 

Bactria, Eukratides I, tetradrachm 171-135 BC.

17.0 grams

596919267_D-CameraBactriaEukratidesItetradrachm171-135BC17.0Berk2-7-21.jpg.0c9c1be5c87517ed0ee6d0351208ecb1.jpg

 

Athens, new style tetradrachm, Caduceus reverse, 164/5 BC, Thompson  378.

17.0  grams

1349442149_D-CameraAthensnewstyletetradrachmCaduceusrev.164-5BC17.0g8-23-20.jpg.6924f6f85a9bc0a6690f7346d115272b.jpg

 

Antiochus VII Sidetes, tetradrachm, Tyre, 130–129 BC, year 183.

2054917572_D-CameraAntiochusVIISidetestetradrachmTyre130129BCyear1833-30-21.jpg.81901138619278ece2173147a2b6e669.jpg

 

Phoenicia, Tyre ,year 138 (12-13 AD),  Shekel.  RPC Supplement 4654C.

14.32 grams

571652923_D-CameraPhoeniciaTyreyear138(12-13AD)ShekelRPCSupp4654C14.32gCNG3-31-21.jpg.4c1228017c44a8ee623b3c0936d232cb.jpg

 

Edited by robinjojo
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I have owned this coin for some time however I did get a surprise today. 

Kingdom of Bactria Euthydemos Ar Tetradrachm Balkh  210/208-206 BC  Obv Head right diademed Rv Herakles seat left on a rock holding his club before him. HGC 40 16.58 grms 28 mm Photo by W. Hansen

baktria11.jpg.820f95898b889488854a1c601234bb2a.jpg

Early this morning I got  this book delivered to me. Books are becoming expensive to ship so I needed for the ANS to produce two that I needed. This would off set the cost of shipping to Canada.

582975333_9780897223614(1).jpg.36608e5af725a3bbb2cd0f9aff415d08.jpg

I was not expecting anything until I looked into it and saw this 

IMG_5708.JPG.db7edd145c234c0e13e5a718182ba22a.JPG

My coin is Glenn 231 O65/ R 175  You can see my coin sitting beside its picture. This made my day.  Besides this coin between the two books I also found two other coins that were plated.  Okay this is a shameless plug. BUY books before , after or even if you aren't even thinking of buying the coin.    I have a lot of reading to do

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Lysimachos is expensive, so getting one at 100 EUR isn't easy these days. Here's mine, purchased in 2014. It's in really nice shape for one of these, but the most important part, the portrait, is partially off-flan. But I like the reverse enough for it to be a valued addition to my "figures seated left" sub-collection:

image.jpeg.9dc5fc927eaad07d2c6731412f609a68.jpeg

 

Here's a cheap Lysimachos Tetradrachm [edited, thanks @ambr0zie!] that I paid slightly more for than the OP drachm, in a similar impulse buy scenario. It's heavily crystallized and has lost several grams of weight. Unlike most of my coins, sometimes I wish I hadn't gotten it. You can see who the seller is from their photo:

image.jpeg.09d53dd0ddb0c5e18201ed8236fcd91c.jpeg

 

Sticking with my run of flawed Hellenistic coins with seated-left figures on the reverse, here's my Euthydemos (have there ever been two posts in row before with Euthydemos Tetradrachms?):

image.jpeg.25e95ac187278feb67048a39c9a4aad3.jpeg

 

Edited by Curtis JJ
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Athena does have a very nice face on yours, @ambr0zie.  Congrats!  I think she's kind of "let herself go" on mine. 😅

1653172933_Lysimachos-TetradrachmKlazomenai3403.jpg.96c67124696622128940a347135acf81.jpg

KINGS OF THRACE. Lysimachos
AR Tetradrachm. 16.78g, 29.1mm.
Klazomenai mint, 294-290 BC. Thompson –; Müller 129 var. (monogram); Meydancikkale 2719 var. (same); CNG E-322, lot 114 (same dies).
O: Diademed head of the deified Alexander right, with horn of Ammon.
R: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ - ΛΥΣΙΜΑΧΟΥ, Athena Nikephoros seated left, left arm resting on shield, spear behind; monograms above arm and on throne, ram's head left in exergue.
Ex William Stancomb Collection, purchased from David Miller

 

As for a coin bought by mistake... once, when I was randomly scrolling through a live auction Gorny & Mosch auction on my mobile phone, I accidentally hit the bid button, and after a second or two of hoping someone else would outbid me, became the shell-shocked new owner of the coin below.  It wasn't a type that was on my want list, but 7 years on and I've grown quite fond of it... even if that wasn't at all what I felt when I got the invoice for it!  

1883320591_IoniaEphesosdrachm.jpg.9e910ef360a018e0a5789e6199eea527.jpg

IONIA, Ephesos
AR Drachm. 4.17g, 17.8mm.
IONIA, Ephesos, circa 202-150 BC, Ekatokles as magistrate.  Kinns, The Attic Weight Drachms of Ephesos, NC 1999, S.86; SNG von Aulock 7826.
O: Bee between E-Φ.
R: Stag standing right, in front of palm tree, EKATOKΛHΣ to right.
Accidentally acquired at Gorny & Mosch Auction 229 (10 Mar 2015, lot 1343)

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I would have jumped on that coin at 10 euros too!! 😆

But looking at acsearch, I think you're right that you did OK, especially given the nice style on the reverse.  Incidentally, while I was looking through, I noticed a few obverse and/or reverse die matches, acsearch numbers 4872770, 4457271, and 3300610.  Yours is nicer than this one (4872770), which sold for 70 USD in 2018 (Triskeles Auctions):

image.png.27c447a2ea3fc4bf06dc27ba201896cc.png

Here's my darkly toned Lysimachos tet:

image.jpeg.451f798503641332c1c55b7c90ff8832.jpeg

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8 hours ago, robinjojo said:

The OP coin is a nice example and with the Euro at near parity with the US dollar, the price is reasonable, but the buyer's fee, assuming there is one, will up the final price somewhat.

The Hellenistic influence in the style of coinage throughout much of the Mediterranean and beyond was far reaching.

Bactria Athenian Series imitation Owl, 261-239 BC.  From Roma XX, lot 334.

16.64 grams

1697278180_D-CameraBactriaAthenanSeriesimitationOwl261-239BC16.64gRomaXX3345-21-21.jpg.67fc7af1acf7065d84ecfd8a4b839379.jpg

 

Ptolemy IV Philopator, AE Drachm, Alexandria mint, 222-205 BC,

66.15  grams

2629269_D-CameraPTOLEMYIVPhilopatorAEDrachmAlexandriamint.222-205BC66.15g10-24-20.jpg.84f2b61250d8b00b76a787d61e503b2c.jpg

 

Bactria, Eukratides I, tetradrachm 171-135 BC.

17.0 grams

596919267_D-CameraBactriaEukratidesItetradrachm171-135BC17.0Berk2-7-21.jpg.0c9c1be5c87517ed0ee6d0351208ecb1.jpg

 

Athens, new style tetradrachm, Caduceus reverse, 164/5 BC, Thompson  378.

17.0  grams

1349442149_D-CameraAthensnewstyletetradrachmCaduceusrev.164-5BC17.0g8-23-20.jpg.6924f6f85a9bc0a6690f7346d115272b.jpg

 

Antiochus VII Sidetes, tetradrachm, Tyre, 130–129 BC, year 183.

2054917572_D-CameraAntiochusVIISidetestetradrachmTyre130129BCyear1833-30-21.jpg.81901138619278ece2173147a2b6e669.jpg

 

Phoenicia, Tyre ,year 138 (12-13 AD),  Shekel.  RPC Supplement 4654C.

14.32 grams

571652923_D-CameraPhoeniciaTyreyear138(12-13AD)ShekelRPCSupp4654C14.32gCNG3-31-21.jpg.4c1228017c44a8ee623b3c0936d232cb.jpg

 

  Date for the NewStyle is a bit old fashioned !  c 133/2 is the usual quote today!  Source me, Meadows, deCallatay........

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Curtis JJ said:

Here's a cheap Lysimachos Drachm that I paid slightly more for than the OP drachm, in a similar impulse buy scenario. It's heavily crystallized and has lost several grams of weight. Unlike most of my coins, sometimes I wish I hadn't gotten it. You can see who the seller is from their photo:

image.jpeg.09d53dd0ddb0c5e18201ed8236fcd91c.jpeg

Isn't that a tetradrachm? I checked the auction and it was described as a tetradrachm and the size and weight confirm this.

Curtis corrected his post. BTW I like that tetradrachm. The crystallization is there (I am curious if the coin is better in hand) but it has a nice relief and good centering. In my opinion - not a mistake. 

Edited by ambr0zie
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I got my posthumous Lysimachus tet at a c. 2002 coin show from Jon Kern.  He had a whole pile of them, and it was a high-end pick bin.  Mine is nice VF, but has a ding on the cheek.  I think it was $175.  I hope to photograph it when my coin photography becomes less incompetent.

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